My New Favorite Way to Read

Written by on June 5, 2012 in Cool Stuff and Reviews - 20 Comments

Recently I took a long road trip with my family and kids, where we spent at least 48 hours sitting and snoozing in my dad’s family-size car (there and back). During that time, I managed to read an incredible book. I read while driving, even. And, no, I didn’t really do anything dangerous or come close to getting into an accident. I read while putting my kids to bed. I read while taking a walk around the lovely premises where we were staying for the week.

The book that had me gripped, which touched my heart with its candor and its strong range of emotions is a Best Seller by a new author, Deborah Feldman, called Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots. It is a memoir of a young woman growing up in the oppressive culture of Satmar Hasidim and her strength to not lose herself in the world she is forced to reside in.

According to the publisher’s summary: “In this captivating memoir, Deborah Feldman takes listeners on an eye-opening journey into Orthodox Jewish culture. Raised in the suffocating world of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidim, Feldman was told what to read and who she was allowed to talk to. Married off at 17, she suffered from anxiety and was shamed by an inability to please her older husband. But after giving birth to a son at age 19, Feldman realized it was time to tear up her roots and make her own path in life.”

I could not put this book down! It was so incredibly powerful and filled with such strong sentiment. Deborah is a wonderful new writer and everyone should read this account.

In fact, everyone who doesn’t have that much time to read should read it in the way that I did.

I’ve always been an avid reader. As a writer, myself, I am continuously poring through a book or three. I love reading. I always have. My mother said I was reading fluently and easily before I was even four. My parents recall how, when I was younger, and me and my cousins would all get together, one of the adults would sit us all down to read us a story to keep us calm. TV wasn’t the “free babysitting” medium that it is these days and we kids would need to be calmed at some point by means of a story. My parents recount how one child after another would eventually get bored of listening and would get up to run around again. All except me. I would sit through the full story and would ask for another. My father remembers my interest in hearing stories read to me ever since I was tiny. My elder daughter has also inherited this passion and I read to my kids every night with the same enthusiasm that my parents had when they read to me.

My love of listening to stories grew quickly into my love of reading to myself. I recall spending much of my childhood and teenage years reading. All that reading also made me a strong writer and helped me to develop my vast imagination. I can’t say that I’ve given it up yet. Even with all of the necessities of the day to day, I still always find time to enjoy a good book.

These days, though, I often read while performing some of the day to day rituals, like cooking or cleaning, or even walking somewhere or commuting. I do it now the way that I was able to during my 48 hours of back and forth road trip. I go back in time to way back when I was a little girl and I would be the one being read to. How I loved those moments of someone else reenacting the story for me with different voices and sound effects. Now everyone can have the benefit of such wonderful reading ease. Thanks to Audible.

My father and I were one of the first to discover Audible when it first started. Or, rather, I think I discovered it and introduced it to my parents, who already for a long time were listeners of audiobooks. They were in an audiobook club actually where they would have CDs sent to them that they could then listen to and send back. I would often borrow those CDs and listen myself while I was in town, visiting them for the weekend from University or during a work holiday. I remember loving this idea of listening to books so much that I would rent audiobooks from the library and listen during my work commute, about a half hour to 45 minutes in each direction. Often, I would become so engrossed in a book that I was listening to, that I would sit in the parking lot upon arrival and listen until the end of the chapter.

Now, with Audible, I can listen even more easily and independently from my car CD player. My parents download new books and put them on their iPod each month, reading through at least one book a week that way. I found something even better than using my iPod, however, the Audible app for my iPhone. Don’t tell Apple, but it’s actually easier to use than iTunes for listening to audiobooks. Now I can easily download books onto my phone in minutes over a wifi network. What makes it better than iTunes is the fact that I can also just as easily take these books off my iPhone when finished with them, though they still remain in my Audible library. With iTunes, I have to actually sync my phone to the computer that the music is synced with to delete the audiobooks or music that I no longer want, so I can’t just easily clear out books or music I’m done with or tired of without this syncing process. With Audible, I don’t even have to sync to a computer to get the new books I’ve downloaded. I can just download them directly with the iPhone app. And I can delete them wherever I am and save myself considerable memory.

Now that is an app that keeps us busy iPhone users in mind. Not only is it easy to keep my library synced to my phone, but I can listen on both my phone and my iPod, so that I can share the books I like with others. My parents, my sister, and I all like to share our favorite books, for example. Plus, this way I can listen in the car through the iPod connection or during a commute on public transport. I never have to lose my spot. Now mundane tasks like cooking, ironing, and walking somewhere take on a whole new meaning and I look forward to them instead of dreading the time wasted. Now that is  great way to read even when I wouldn’t ordinarily have time to read!


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